Tourists, business travelers and other foreigners still stranded in Juba, South Sudan will be receiving an unexpected Christmas gift, when Kenya Airways, in conjunction with the Kenyan government, will operate at last two chartered flights from Nairobi to Juba later today. Security situation permitting it should be pointed out, this is to evacuate those who were unable to leave by road or be on the last flight KQ took in and out of Juba on the 23rd of December.
After reports emerged that evacuation flights over the past days had been hit by fire from the ground, even wounding 4 American service personnel on a mission to Bor, airlines exercised added caution for their flights into South Sudan.
‘Kenya Airways wishes to inform its customers and the general public that it will be, in partnership with the Government of Kenya, operating two chartered flights from Juba in South Sudan to Nairobi on December 26, 2013’ did a statement sent out on Christmas Day read, after the Kenyan government realised the magnitude of the sheer number of wannabe evacuees still stuck in Juba.
It is not known what aircraft type Kenya Airways will use for these two flights, which are according to added information sources free of charge. Normally KQ operates the Embraer E 190 on this route but there is speculation that the airline could use a wide bodied aircraft for the evacuation flights.
Christmas spirit at its best no doubt and giving a few hundred Kenyans at least the chance to catch up with family and friends and celebrate Boxing Day, rather than remaining marooned in South Sudan where the situation is murky at best and from where little factual information is coming out, other that the fighting for key positions continues.
The statement received also said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Nairobi has established a South Sudan Crisis Management Centre (SSCMC) at its headquarters in Nairobi to coordinate the operation and that for assistance those in need of information, or with information to pass on to them this number should be used: +254 203 10325.